Roger That?

Winter creeps around the confines, animals burrow deep, and I sit wondering how one best rouses a blog from hibernation.

Two seasons sidled by-- summer bright and brazen, fall less blazing than I would have liked. Too many days, gray and slick, strung together like beads on string. A few weeks of shocking cold, a day of snow, and then a welcome, balmy wind to help us shake a fist at winter.

It's nearly Thanksgiving, and I don't know how to begin again.

I give thanks for more than these, but for these I give thanks...
-four months spent in our trailer. I can't explain how much I loved this short season in our lives.

-two and a half months spent in the old hilltop homestead. Our footsteps on bare board skim the paths worn down by three generations of family whose space we now occupy. There's too much good to fully show here.

-an end in sight. After seven months of hoop-jumping, paper-filing, and phone-calling, we hope to have a closing date within the next month.

-new life. Though the swell of my six-month belly shouts the news even to strangers, sometimes this baby still seems like a wonderful secret-- the kind that fills every last space. A Blackcap Baby. Tiny limbs trace the contours of my belly with kicks and squirms, a rhythm so familiar that I sometimes forget that they're the language of our new child, speaking at all hours with the only words she knows.

We don't have Internet access and don't have plans to Get Some, but when we form some comfortable ruts (i.e. finally finish unpacking), I'll try to make it to the library every week or so to keep in touch with anyone who still checks this.

That is, if anyone still checks this.

(If so, I'm sorry for so many sentence fragments. We're on Long Island at the end of a wonderful visit with our family, and my brain is fried by too little sleep and too much rich food. - - - - - - Yes, I realize that "eating for two" is no excuse for eating for ten, but I use it anyway, and you're duty-bound to accept it, all right?!)

***I have lots of recipes to post. I'll put a post here whenever I put them on buildabelly. Plus, I misplaced a month's worth of pictures. Where are Mildred's birthday pictures?! She's seven years old now! Where are the haying pictures? Where's the picture of 2 inches of snow in mid-October? WHERE is the picture of Annika's head inside my belly?!?!?!? (For real.) I'll let you know if I find them.

***Oh. and forgive the jumble. Fall/Summer/Fall/Summer

***And NOW it's half an hour before we leave, and I'm going to tack words onto dozens of pictures, so I also apologize for the lame quality of the forthcoming posts.

***Still with me? Good. I had to mess with my template to fit giant pictures, and I had to use giant pictures because my flickr account is maxed for the month. Scroll to the bottom of the page to hit more posts. You wouldn't want to miss any giant pictures, would you?

Really, it's been five months.
What did you expect?

The Big Show

I warned you they'd be out of order.
Here's my only picture from the fourth of July. My brother Andy put on a fun hilltop show for us with PA firewords.

Suffer Long

Our chickens are well-loved and incidentally abused. I went outside one day to discover that Millie had fashioned bells for two honored chickens, one of which Annie was holding. Hey, if cowbells have a purpose...

Don't worry. I had her remove the chicken bell from poor Sumac Gold.

(And as I've mentioned, my children like to dress themselves...)


The only thing that would make me like these two pictures more would be if Piper were also in them, but she was on my back at the time.

No Words Needed

What a night that was.

Same Place, Different Story

And then this soft and hazy evening, a few days later. Sunsets are better than television.

Our Feathered Friends

I think I dress my children fairly well...WHEN I dress them, that is. They look like ragamuffins most of the time because they dress themselves.

Observe the Bird, wandering in the frosty outdoors at seven o'clock in the morning. (Hey, at least she was wearing tights under those three skirts over that ballet costume under that fairy costume under that poncho under those wings.)

Pop Culture Descending

When John's family came to visit in September, they took us to see a double feature of Toy Story 1 and 2 at the local theater. Neither the girls nor I had ever seen either movie, and they were in 3-D, no less, which was also our first experience. We had a blast, and our new pop culture savviness is revealed in this picture of Annika.

That morning, after slipping on her beloved cowboy boots that Millie finally outgrew (which made one girl ecstatic and the other bereaved), she said, "Mama, I wish that I had 'Andy' on my boots so that I could be a toy."

I gave a marker and my blessing, and, now, she's a real toy.


(In other breaking news, John thinks that Annika's our most pop-culture-aware child, even though she refers to the characters from Toy Story as "Buzz Lightbulb" and "that cowboy" and she calls the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as "Hijit Turtles.)

A Good Time Was Had by All

I think this was in November...maybe October. Anyway, during bow season, my brother Andy got a buck that they didn't have room for in their freezer yet, so he gave most of it to me. Yeah! John lugged it in for me, and then I spent hours butchering it. It was well worth the clumsy (novice) work, and I was able to pack forty pounds in the freezer. Winter, ho!

Annika and Millie were pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, but I caught Susannah playing the harmonica and singing a plaintive tune to the beast when I walked in from the other room. The lyrics, interspersed with haunting toots on the harmonica, went something like this:

I don't love you, Deer. I'm sorry, but I don't love you dead on our taaaable.
I DO love you, Deer, but I only love you in the foreeeeest.
I DON'T love you, Deer. I DON'T like to eat you when you're deeeeeeaaaad.
I love you in the foreeeest, but I DON'T love you when you're dead.

For the record, I learned that she's fine eating venison once it's been packed away in ziplock bags, as long as the meat doesn't look like what it actually is, i.e., its legs aren't hanging off the sides of the table.

Set My Bow in the Heavens

It was still raining, so my shadow includes the ladybug umbrella at no extra charge.

Scott and Leah, I took this for you. Did you find that pot of gold before your move? (We'll keep looking...)


Susannah's interaction with her shadow was the reason for the picture, but this is part of our living room, so I guess you do get some pictures of the house this time around.

Because I Love Her

In the Beginning

In June (yes, June), we were visiting our Owen family. Remember, I put up a blog post? Anyway, while there, we hung with some cool Roman dudes who were chilling on the lawn.

And we browsed through a bookstore (which, to those who know us, is a given).

To Dig the Sandy Shore

We also went to the beach! Hurrah!

It was a gray day, which was perfect because no one else was there, and for a time we could pretend the whole ocean was ours alone.

Millie and Annie ran around a lot.

Susannah made a valiant attempt to dig to China using only a broken shell and her steadfast determination.

After she drank tea with some Chinamen, she jumped and rolled down sandy mounds.

John and Piper enjoyed the wind, a book, and each other. They weren't even aware of me. I love this moment so much.

And one last...


At the beginning of the summer, we adopted a kitten from the farm. Her name is Smoky Grace, and her favorite spot is on John's shoulder (she perches there just like a parrot for long periods of time, even though she's growing bigger).

Anyway, Smoky Grace...shotsnaps readers.
Shotsnaps readers....Smoky Grace.

(That was a formal introduction.)

We also have five outdoor cats that have adopted US, so our feline members outnumber our real children. I'm not sure how I feel about that...


We had a romantic candlelight dinner one night.

Annie carved the one on the left. It's a MONSTER.

Susannah told me she wanted a princess. Since the pumpkin was half rotten from frost, I amputated its bottom half, and told her I'd give her a "squat-faced scary lady" instead. I'm amazing!!! Look how squat-faced and scary that lady is!

Millie carved this one. Not shown are the fun, pointy Spock ears she carved on the sides. (Only she said they were elfin ears...)

And Send It Soaring

I don't even know when these were taken. August?

The wind commanded us to fly a kite, so we complied. (NEVER cross wills with the wind.)

After I went back to the trailer to put the littler girls to bed, Millie soared in solitude for at least half an hour more. She's the tiny pink speck in the background that looks like an odd wildflower.

Summer Evening in the Hayfield

Golden moments.

There was running and waddling after.

Waving to Grandpa who was haying.

Milkweed opening.

Milkweed wearing.

Goldenrod gathering.

Sitting in the bright lap of an approaching storm.

And we made crowns from field bindweed, putting a lovely invasive plant to honest use.